The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has condemned inducement of voters by politicians during elections, saying it is another form of corruption.
Magu said the monetisation of electoral process must be frowned on by Nigerians because it could impact negatively on the future of the country.
Speaking during an interactive session with media executives at the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal office on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Magu said: “We are again at the cusp of history. In only a few weeks from now, we would be going to the polls to elect leaders at all levels of government.
“Howsoever that process goes depends a lot on all of us. Let us vote in leaders based on their programmes and priorities not on how much they are able to pervert the system.”
The EFCC boss, who described the media as the compass providing clear direction for the Commission in its relentless efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption, also stated that the fight for the soul of Nigeria was one between the patriotic and the corrupt
“The fight is also one between the keepers and the looters of our common patrimony. The latter group has continuously demonstrated its I-don’t-care attitude to the socio-economic well-being of our dear country.
But as stakeholders, we must be alert to our responsibilities to wrest our commonwealth from the grasp of the looters”, he emphasised.
He, therefore, stated that it was important for stakeholders in the anti-graft war to pause and critically review the high and low points of the strategies in dealing with the monster of corruption, which is the bane of the development of the country.
He also charged the media not to leave the fight against corruption only in the hand of the EFCC, adding: “Whenever you give us knocks in your editorials or reportage, we take it in good faith, believing that we are either not doing enough or we need to change our strategies.
“In the same way, when you give us kudos, we don’t feel we should roll out the drums and celebrate because there is still a lot of ground to cover.
As I always say, we don’t have a monopoly of knowledge on how best the war against corruption can be fought. So, we will always run to you for brilliant ideas on how best to combat the evil of corruption. Be assured that we will always heed your candid pieces of advice.
“Indeed, I see the media as the potent megaphone to trumpet the need for the generality of Nigerians to take ownership of the fight against corruption.”
Magu, who also described the Commission as apolitical, stated that the Commission’s concern bordered on those who seek to use the political space for money laundering.
He, however, said that the EFCC would invoke the provisions of the anti-money laundering law to the letter, irrespective of whose ox is gored.
He added: “Some vested interests are already attacking us for our stand on the side of the law. Let us remind them that the law is no respecter of persons.
“But we also know that we will be fooling one another if we think that the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes will be a tea affair. It has never been, and it will never be! The reason, you will agree with me, is simply that corruption will always fight back.
“Besides, in today’s Nigeria, the issue of corruption has become a hydra-headed problem. But it will even be more dangerous if critical stakeholders, including the media, leave it only to the EFCC. That is why we will always ask for your support.”
Magu, who said the introduction of special courts to try persons for corruption cases had been a blessing to anti-graft agencies, disclosed that the Commission had recorded 246 convictions as at November 30, 2018.
“I make bold to say that the Commission is winning the war against corruption. In terms of assets recovery/forfeiture, the Commission has secured quite a number of temporary or permanent forfeiture of properties and various sums of monies unlawfully acquired by persons of questionable character.
The most recent of such final forfeiture, through the efforts of the Commission to the Federal Government last month, was the N1.9 billion from Heritage Bank.
“In addition, the Commission keeps getting more global recognitions for its daring efforts to sanitise the country. Several respectable international agencies have signed collaborative agreements with the Commission to tackle the menace of corruption,” he said.
Magu also described as untrue the insinuation by critics that the Commission had been engaging in witch hunt, saying, “It is not a tool in the hands of anyone, government or individual, either. If your hands are clean, you can go to bed with your two eyes closed. We will never compromise our integrity!”
He also disclosed that the Commission had opened three new zonal offices in Sokoto, Benue and Kwara States for a strategic purpose.
“Other zonal offices, reflecting the old 12-states structure are coming soon to bring the Commission closer to the people,” he added.